International Finance

Malaysia’s Axiata plans stake sale in units after failed merger

Axiata strategy
Reports say that it has received offers to acquire stake in its $3 billion unit Edotco

Malaysia’s Axiata is planning a stake sale in units and will not pursue group-level deals, according to media reports. Axuata’s new strategy involving a stake sale in units was devised after the failed merger with Norway’s Telenor. 

Axiata operates in nine countries in Southeast Asia. According to media reports, it has received an informal offer from IHS Towers to buy a stake in its $3 billion telecom tower unit Edotco. 

Axiata plans a stake sale  in Indonesian unit PT XL Axiata, where it owns 66.4 percent, media reported. It seems that Axiata is confident about selling a stake in XL by next year. That said, the telecom giant will not give up its majority control in XL as it holds the second-largest share of the mobile phone network market in Malaysia. 

Currently, the telecom giant is focused on ‘short-term profit’ and to deliver cash to shareholders. It is mired in a loss owing to reduced divestment, increasing impairment and lower dividend income.

Earlier this month, Axiata terminated the talks with Telenor on the merger deal. The main objective of the deal was to create Southeast Asia’s largest telecom operator, with more than 300 million mobile subscribers. However, Chief Executive Officer Jamaludin Ibrahim told the media that, “The cancellation of the merger does not deter us from looking at other possibilities.” 

The new strategy is important to Axiata, which is a majority-owned company by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

This year, Khazanah launched a new plan to its$33 billion portfolio into commercial and strategic divisions to generate  profits. Axiata comes under under Khazanah’s commercial fund.

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